• Check the air conditioner (and heater if there is one) to make sure they work on all settings. Unusual sounds or smells might mean it needs a filter change, or it could be another issue.
  • If your rental has a fireplace, make sure it works.
  • Make a note of any particular scents you smell, like cigarette smoke, pet odor, or even moldiness. If the smell is bothersome enough, ask management about it. You might be able to request a thorough cleaning of the living space before you move in.
  • Do a safety check for a smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector, and a fire extinguisher. If these aren’t located in your rental, you’ll need to buy (and possibly install) them yourself. Also, ask whether or not the complex has a fire safety plan (and tornado safety plan if the rental is in a tornado-prone area). You need to know where to go in case of an emergency.
  • If your rental has a laundry facility, ask where it is, then visit the facility. Make sure it is within a favorable distance and is in a safe area. Also, make sure their washers and dryers are all in working order.
  • Check for proper lighting on the property, especially in the parking areas, as well as external hallways (if your rental has any).
  • Make sure the overall parking is adequate. You should be able to get in and out of parking spaces without much of a problem.
  • If your potential rental happens to have security gates, make sure they’re in working order.
  • If it’s possible, visit the housing or apartment complex during both the day and night, and do it on both a weekday and weekend. It will give you an idea of what you’ll be dealing with on a daily basis. You’ll know ahead of time how much noise you’ll be dealing with, as well as how safe the neighborhood is.

Note any and all current and potential issues you find and bring them up with the landlord before signing the lease. Get details on the security deposit and take care of any necessary repairs.

After you visit your potential home (and also before you sign the lease), find and read reviews about your building. It will give you some insight into any maintenance problems or other management issues that you could be dealing with in the future should you choose to live there.